News Briefs

  • 11/13/2023

    Cisco Launches New Research, Highlighting Seismic Gap in Companies' Preparedness for AI

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    A mere 14% of organizations globally are fully prepared to deploy and leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered technologies, according to Cisco's inaugural AI Readiness Index released today. The Index, which surveyed over 8,000 global companies, was developed in response to the accelerating adoption of AI, a generational shift that is impacting almost every area of business and daily life. The report highlights companies' preparedness to utilize and deploy AI, showcasing critical gaps across key business pillars and infrastructures that pose serious risks for the near future.

    The new research finds that while AI adoption has been slowly progressing for decades, the advancements in Generative AI, coupled with public availability in the past year, are driving greater attention to the challenges, changes and new possibilities posed by the technology. While 84% of respondents believe AI will have a significant impact on their business operations, it also raises new issues around data privacy and security. The Index findings show that companies experience the most challenges when it comes to leveraging AI alongside their data. In fact, 81% of respondents admit that this is due to data existing in silos across their organizations.

    However, there is also positive news. Findings from the Index revealed that companies are taking many proactive measures to prepare for an AI-centric future. When it came to building AI strategies, almost one-third of respondents were categorized as Pacesetters (fully prepared), which indicates a significant level of focus by C-Suite executives and IT leadership. This could be driven by the fact that most (97%) respondents said the urgency to deploy AI technologies in their organization has increased in the past six months, with IT infrastructure and cybersecurity reported as the top priority areas for AI deployments.

    "The race to AI Readiness is on, with organizations under intense pressure to shift from strategic planning to execution mode in order to capitalize on the transformative potential that AI represents," said Liz Centoni, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Applications and Chief Strategy Officer, Cisco. "To realize the benefit of AI-powered products and services, companies need solutions that secure and observe their AI models and toolchains to ensure performance, secure sensitive data and systems, and deliver trustworthy and responsible AI outcomes."


    Key Findings

    Alongside the stark finding that overall, only 14% of companies are Pacesetters (fully prepared), the research found that more than half (52%) of companies globally are considered Laggards (unprepared) at 4%, or Followers (limited preparedness) at 48%. Some of the most significant findings include:

    • URGENCY: One year maximum before companies start to see negative business impacts. 61% of respondents believe they have a maximum of one year to implement an AI strategy before their organization begins to incur significant negative business impact.
    • STRATEGY : Step one is strategy, and organizations are well on their way. 73% of organizations benchmarked as either Pacesetters or Chasers, and only 4% were found to be Laggards. Additionally, 95% of organizations already have a highly defined AI strategy in place or are in the process of developing one, which is a positive sign, but shows there is more to do.
    • INFRASTRUCTURE: Networks are not equipped to meet AI workloads. 95% of businesses are aware that AI will increase infrastructure workloads, but only 17% of organizations have networks that are fully flexible to handle this complexity. 23% of companies have limited or no scalability at all when it comes to meeting new AI challenges within their current IT infrastructures. To accommodate AI's increased power and computing demands, more than three-quarters of companies will require further data center graphics processing units (GPUs) to support current and future AI workloads. In addition, 30% say the latency and throughput of their network is not optimal or sub-optimal, and 48% agree that they need further improvements on this front to cater to future needs.
    • DATA: Organizations cannot neglect the importance of having data 'AI-ready.' While data serves as the backbone needed for AI operations, it is also the area where readiness is the weakest, with the greatest number of Laggards (17%) compared to other pillars. 81% of all respondents claim some degree of siloed or fragmented data in their organization. This poses a critical challenge as the complexity of integrating data that resides in various sources and making it available for AI implications can impact the ability to leverage the full potential of these applications.
    • TALENT: T here is a significant mismatch in leadership and employee expectations with respect to AI. Boards and Leadership Teams are the most likely to embrace the changes brought about by AI, with 82% of both groups showing high or moderate receptiveness. However, there is more work to be done to engage middle management where 22% have either limited or no receptiveness to AI and among employees where close to a third (31%) of organizations report employees are limited in their willingness to adopt AI or outright resistant. The need for AI skills reveals a new-age digital divide. While 90% of respondents said they have invested in upleveling existing employee skillsets, 29% expressed doubt about the availability of sufficiently skilled talent.
    • GOVERNANCE: AI policy adoption's slow start. 76% of organizations report not having comprehensive AI policies in place, an area that must be addressed as companies consider and govern all the factors that present a risk in eroding confidence and trust. These factors include data privacy and data sovereignty, and the understanding of and compliance with global regulations. Additionally, close attention must be paid to the concepts of bias, fairness, and transparency in both data and algorithms.
    • CULTURE: Little preparation, but high motivation to make a priority. This pillar had the lowest number of Pacesetters (9%) compared to other categories driven largely by the fact that only 21% have comprehensive change management plans for widespread AI adoption. C-Suite executives are the most receptive to embracing internal AI changes and must take the lead in developing comprehensive plans and communicating them clearly to middle management and employees who have relatively lower rates of acceptance. The good news is that motivation is high. Nearly eight out of 10 (79%) say their organization is embracing AI with a moderate to high level of urgency. Only 2% said they were resistant to change.

    Cisco AI Readiness Index 

    The new Cisco AI Readiness Index is based on a double-blind survey of 8,161 private sector business and IT leaders across 30 markets, conducted by an independent third-party surveying respondents from companies with 500 or more employees. The Index assessed respondents' AI readiness across six key pillars: strategy, infrastructure, data, talent, governance, and culture.

    Companies were examined on 49 different metrics across these six pillars to determine a readiness score for each, as well as an overall readiness score for the respondents' organization. Each indicator was assigned an individual weightage based on its relative importance to achieving readiness for the applicable pillar. Based on their overall score, Cisco has identified four groups at different levels of organizational readiness – Pacesetters (fully prepared), Chasers (moderately prepared), Followers (limited preparedness), and Laggards (unprepared). 

  • 11/13/2023

    VAI Resort Taps Oracle Cloud to Deliver Rock-Star Guest Experiences

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    VAI Resort, the upcoming largest hotel and entertainment destination in Arizona, is gearing up to open its doors in 2024 with the support of Oracle Cloud. With Oracle’s OPERA Cloud hospitality management platform combined with Oracle NetSuite, VAI will be able to unify its core data and operations on a single, secure infrastructure. This will empower VAI with the tools and intelligence it needs to keep its operation running smoothly while delivering unforgettable guest experiences.

    VAI will also be using Oracle MICROS Simphony Cloud POS to manage all its restaurants and bars and Oracle Nor1 to deliver more impactful upgrade offers for guests and boost incremental revenue.

    “VAI is the manifestation of a dream to create the world’s most iconic resort,” said Howard Weiss, Vice President of Entertainment, VAI Resort. “Our mission is to deliver the best luxury hospitality and entertainment experience in Arizona—and that requires the best technology. From room availability to drinks to our back-office operations, the combined power of Oracle’s Hospitality and NetSuite’s unified platform and real-time analytics and reporting will give us a constant view into our performance which will help us continually evolve how we serve and delight our guests.”

    Creating an Oasis with Oracle

    The new $1 billion 60-acre resort oasis destination, VAI Resort will consist of 1,100 rooms across four hotel towers with 12 dining establishments, 10 unique bars, and a man-made party island. Additionally, the property will include a two-story nightclub, a state-of-the-art 360-degree concert stage, a five-acre swimming oasis surrounded by white sand beaches, luxury retail, and a Spa and Wellness Center, all right next door to the world’s first Mattel Adventure Park.

    Oracle Hospitality OPERA Cloud Platform and MICROS Simphony will enable VAI to seamlessly manage its entire hotel and dining operations including securely managing guest data and preferences, room availability and rates, food waste, and more. With an open architecture, built-in integration services, and open APIs, OPERA Cloud will also enable VAI to accelerate innovation to continually redefine the guest experience. Together with the Oracle Nor1, staff will also be equipped to deliver real-time offers to hotel guests, helping increase revenue.

    In addition to Oracle Cloud, VAI will also use NetSuite enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to automate financial processes and improve business visibility across its operations. With a unified view of its business performance, VAI will be able to make more informed, data-driven decisions to improve guests’ experiences and grow its business.

    “VAI Resort is creating a truly unique resort and an entertainment destination, all in one stunning package,” said Alex Alt, executive vice president and general manager of Oracle Hospitality. “With Oracle Cloud, VAI will have the ability to unify data across its operations, which will enable them to curate unforgettable experiences for guests, while efficiently managing all of the rooms, restaurants, and amenities those experiences require.”

  • 11/13/2023

    Interface Systems Integrates with DMP Alarm Panels

    Interface DMP Alarm panel integration

    Interface Systems, a leading managed service provider of business security, actionable insights, and purpose-built networks for multi-location businesses, announced the integration of  DMP alarm panels into its interactive Security Operations Centers (iSOCs). This underscores Interface’s mission to extend the capabilities of its iSOCs by seamlessly integrating leading business security solutions with the iSOC remote video monitoring technology.

    The incorporation of DMP panels into Interface Systems' iSOCs opens up new possibilities for businesses that have either implemented DMP panels or plan on upgrading to DMP for their security needs.

    With this latest integration, customers will have access to add-on interactive services that go beyond traditional alarm monitoring and standalone video surveillance. Customers can easily upgrade to video-verified alarm services and leverage Interface’s virtual guard solutions with interactive monitoring capabilities. Interface can deploy microphones, speaker units, discreet emergency activation hubs, and advanced security cameras to allow its intervention specialists at iSOCs to see, hear and directly speak to employees at the locations being monitored. This two-way communication capability enhances security, response times, and situational awareness, ultimately adding new layers of safety and protection to businesses.

    The integration offers customers the flexibility to choose from a wide range of add-on services such as virtual walkthroughs, voice-downs, opening and closing security escorts, and compliance audits.

    “We are thrilled to have our intrusion control panels integrated into the Interface Systems iSOC. The Interface iSOC is widely regarded as one of the very best state-of-the-art interactive video monitoring centers, and we are very excited to be working closely with them and look forward to growing our partnership with Interface,” said Mark Hillenburg, VP Industry Relations, DMP

    "As a leading managed service provider in business security, Interface Systems is committed to staying at the forefront of technology to meet the evolving needs of our customers,” said Brian Garavuso, Chief Technology Officer at Interface Systems. “This latest integration reinforces Interface Systems' dedication to empowering consumer-facing, multi-location businesses with comprehensive security solutions designed to tackle prevailing and emerging security threats.”



  • 11/13/2023

    UrVenue Announces Integration with Book4Time

    Book4Time and UrVenue integration shown on mobile app

    UrVenue, pioneer of the hospitality industry’s first Property Experience Management System (PXMS), has teamed up with Book4Time, a cloud-based spa, wellness, and leisure-activity management software company, to incorporate spa experiences into UrVenue’s UV Enterprise platform. Now hotel and resort guests can seamlessly book and manage spa treatments alongside other property experiences in a singular itinerary, unifying the booking process in the pre-arrival and in-stay journey.

    “If there is one thing today’s hotel guests crave, it’s convenience,” said Tracee Nalewak, UrVenue Chief Growth Officer. “UrVenue ensures a cohesive booking journey for all non-room, experience-based inventory, from making reservations for restaurants and recreational activities (such as hikes, private tours, bike rentals, etc.) to reserving seating at nightclubs, day clubs, lounges, pools, resort beaches, sportsbooks, and more. Now through our integration with Book4Time, guests and employees can book spa treatments within our itinerary builder and manager. This functionality will enable experiential properties to drive incremental revenue by more easily upselling and cross-selling spa experiences with the rest of their non-room inventory.”

    UV Enterprise is a full-stack technology platform that drives commerce, manages operations, and enhances the guest experience in a single, cohesive booking journey across a hotel or resort’s direct booking channels.  UV Enterprise also features Guest Experience, a recently launched system capability, which includes two key products – Guest Portal and Guest Services. Guest Portal provides guests with a personalized, self-service interface for easy exploration and booking of property experiences and the ability to view and manage their digital itineraries. Guest Services enables employees (call center, concierge, front desk, etc.) to book experiences and manage itineraries on behalf of the guest.  The Book4Time integration enables spa reservations and other activities and experiences to be booked in the same unified booking journey and managed within the same digital itineraries.

    As a SaaS technology in the hospitality wellness industry, Book4Time is the spa platform used by international hotels, resorts, casinos, golf and private member clubs in more than 100 countries worldwide. It has been voted the most innovative company by the International Spa Association and was a finalist in the Hotel Tech Report Awards. The company has existing integration partnerships with more than 100 of the industry’s leading technology providers, such as property-management, club and membership-management, and guest experience systems.

    “We have watched UrVenue’s growth over the past few years and are proud to be working with them to connect the end-to-end booking journey for our mutual hotel and resort customers,” said Roger Sholanki, Book4Time CEO. “With this integration, their success is our success.”

  • 11/13/2023

    Incentivio Launches Menu Intelligence Tool

    Menu Intelligence screen shot

    Incentivio launches Menu Intelligence, a solution that offers users insights into their menu and how it affects customer retention. This new product will provide restaurant owners and marketers alike with insights to make data-driven decisions around their menu and marketing campaigns. 

    Sales numbers don't tell the entire story when determining the success factor of dishes. On top of seeing which items sold the most or drove the most revenue, there is great power in knowing which items are driving the highest customer retention and which are creating more churn. 

    For example, fries may be a top seller due to most dishes coming with fries; however, that doesn't mean the fries are particularly good. It doesn't mean that when someone orders your fries, the fries contribute to bringing restaurant customers back for another visit. Before Menu Intelligence, all that is known is that fries are ordered a lot— and that information alone would be missing most of the story. 

    "Because Incentivio has data not only on the volume at which menu items are ordered but also rich data on who those customers are, we can provide much more meaningful menu analysis. This can help restaurateurs decide which items they need to improve or even take off the menu entirely and also which items they should be promoting more," said Mathew Todtenkopf, Head of Product at Incentivio. 

    Beyond a Buzz Word

    Menu Intelligence moves AI beyond a buzzword and allows it to become an integral and impactful part of restaurants of all shapes and sizes. Incentivio had machine learning engineers and data scientists spend nearly a year analyzing which data points on each item contributed to long-term customer loyalty and churn. They then used this analysis to create an AI model that scores each menu item based on how they impact long-term customer behavior. 

    For more information, visit

  • 11/13/2023

    Dave’s Hot Chicken Adds AI-Powered Loop to Maximize Third Party Delivery

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    Dave’s Hot Chicken has engaged LoopAI, a SaaS provider specializing in maximizing profitability and operational excellence for restaurants in the third-party delivery space, to support its growth.

    LoopAI’s third-party delivery optimization platform provides financial reconciliation and bookkeeping automation, along with real-time store availability management and performance metrics optimization, enabling Dave’s leadership to move swiftly and navigate operational pain points with ease.

    “Off-premise continues to grow, and we want to ensure we’re positioning ourselves to maximize its profitability,” said Jim Bitticks, Dave’s Hot Chicken’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “LoopAI’s technology allows us to monitor and manage our 3D platforms. Most importantly, it helps make our franchisees more profitable.“

    LoopAI  offers a comprehensive suite designed to elevate the customer experience and financial outcomes for its partners.

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